Child support orders ensure that non-custodial parents financially support their children. According to the Office of Child Support Enforcement, in 2021, the U.S. child support program collected roughly $33 billion.
Life changes can make these orders unfair. Learn when to ask for a child support order modification to protect your child’s interests.
Major income changes
Request a modification if a parent’s income significantly increases or decreases. Sometimes, non-custodial parents experience job loss or unforeseen financial hardships that make it challenging for them to meet their child support obligations.
The custodial parent’s income changes can also impact the child’s needs and support amount.
Custody or visitation changes
Changes in circumstances can affect a parent’s ability to spend time with their child. Significant shifts in visitation time can affect the child’s financial needs. More visitation may require a modification for a fair financial contribution.
Changes in the child’s needs
Children’s needs evolve as they grow. Support orders consider age, health and specific requirements at the time of the initial order. Significant changes in needs may warrant a modification for appropriate financial support.
Cost of living adjustments
Some orders include cost-of-living adjustments to match inflation and expenses. If your order has COLAs, you may not need a separate modification for economic changes.
Emergencies or unforeseen expenses
Life brings unexpected challenges, like medical emergencies or educational needs. Consider a modification for additional financial support in such circumstances.
The goal of modifications is to ensure fairness and adaptability in support arrangements. Typically, you must pursue child support modifications through legal channels, which often involve the court or relevant government agencies responsible for support enforcement.